Photos: Inauguration Day in Washington

Organic Chemical Industry

U.S. must abandon corn-based ethanol

The use of ethanol in gasoline has a long and sordid history ("Food or fuel?" Aug. 3). By the early 1990s, EPA regulations had reduced tailpipe emissions from new cars by over 95 percent of 970s levels, and only about 3 percent of the hydrocarbons in the atmosphere were from automobile exhausts. Nevertheless the government legislated the use of reformulated gasolines containing oxygen to facilitate complete combustion. This lead to the inclusion of MTBE in gasolines.

After oil companies spent tens of billions of dollars to build government-mandated MTBE plants, ground water contamination from leaking fuel storage tanks forced the government to abandon MTBE and replace it...